MUMBAI: Five unidentified armed dacoits assaulted an elderly Parsi couple, poisoned their two watchdogs and hens, and fled with cash and jewellery worth nearly Rs 7 lakh from their bungalow in the Dahanu taluka of Palghar district in the early hours of Saturday. One of the dogs and two hens died.
The dacoits damaged the closed circuit television (CCTV) at the bungalow before committing the crime.
Rohinton Taraporewala (73) and his wife Homai (70) were asleep in their ground-plus-one-storey bungalow, Tarapore Villa, in the Bawda village of Vangaon. Around 1.30am, the couple was woken up by some sounds from the rear side of the bungalow. Before they could react, they were surrounded by the dacoits who had gained entry by breaking open the rear door of the bungalow. One held a revolver at Homai while the others, armed with sickles, knives and iron rods, assaulted Rohinton on his right eyebrow and back.
The dacoits demanded the keys of the cupboard in the bedroom. Rohinton, a retired chikoo farmer, and Homai pleaded with the dacoits to spare them and handed over the keys. The dacoits ransacked the cupboards in the bedroom and near the dining table and fled with cash and jewellery worth Rs 6.6 lakh. They also stole the digital video recorder (DVR) of the CCTV and the cable box.
It was only after the dacoits fled that the couple came out of their bungalow to find the canines had been poisoned. While one of them was already dead, the other survived as it vomited. Two hens were found dead too.
Rohinton said, “While we are lucky to have been spared by the dacoits, my licensed revolver, which I had surrendered to the police ahead of the zilla parishad elections, would have helped scare away the dacoits.” It was returned to him after the dacoity.
The couple that lives alone had installed the CCTV a few years ago. The two strays that the couple had adopted would be let loose in the bungalow premises at night.
The couple’s son, a doctor, lives in the UK and their married daughter in the US.
Police suspect the dacoits may have kept a watch on the bungalow. They knew about the watchdogs and hence silenced them before breaking in. Residents of other bungalows, located at a distance, did not hear any sounds. Police are questioning painters who were carrying out work in the bungalow.
Vangaon police registered a case under Indian Penal Code sections 394, 395 and 397 for dacoity and 429 and 427 for maiming cattle. Police said they will examine CCTVs in the locality for leads.